Tech Overlook

Huntington Beach educators mold musicians of tomorrow

MMET is the brainchild of Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) alum Jamie Knight (MMET’s first director) and ADE Michael Simmons, along with Huntington Beach APA. The program is incorporated into nine of APA’s available theater and music majors, giving students hands-on training in fields including theater tech, audio recording and video production (using Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro X, respectively).

In the school’s auditorium, students use a Yamaha CL5 digital mixer, and have even rigged it to be portable, monitoring and controlling sound levels around the theater on an iPad Pro. The school also houses a recording studio with a guitar room across the hall, and several other collaborative music creation spaces the students are encouraged to use whenever they feel inspired.

Back in 2004, Knight started teaching a class on music technology and recording at APA, but there was no technology. His small class of 25 students was performing Cheap Trick and other rock ’n’ roll songs at a few restaurants, and even the Apple Store at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Fifteen years later, the program has grown to include 152 students majoring in MMET Popular Music and MMET Media, who are writing their own music, arranging songs with Simmons and performing live in three major shows a year: a Beatles show, “Playlist” and “Retrofest.” “Playlist” is now in its seventh year.

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